Trip down memory lane as Delgany pupils celebrate 30 years in new building
Pupils and teachers, past and present, gathered online this morning (Friday June 11) for a special service to celebrate the 30th birthday of Delgany National School’s current building. The parish school has been in existence since 1665, with the Old School House having been constructed in 1839. The new building was officially opened on June 14 1991 although pupils moved in the preceding February.
Today was a day of celebration not only of the school’s history but of all the birthdays pupils have missed out on celebrating during the year. There were balloons and ice creams at the school and while all the children couldn’t be present in Christ Church Delgany for the special service, they watched online from their classrooms. They were joined in the virtual congregation by past pupils and former teachers who watched from around the country.
Opening the service, the Revd Nigel Waugh commended the school on its wonderful record over the last year. He gave thanks for all who had been associated with the school over the years, particularly members of the board of management who had given hundreds of hours to the school.
School principal, Anna Ovington, herself a past pupil who was in sixth class when they moved from the old prefabs across the road, said she wished the whole school community could be with them but was delighted to welcome former principal, Sally Watson, who was at the helm at the time of the move. She also welcomed the school’s trustees. Most important in any school were the pupils, she said, hoping that they were enjoying the service from their classrooms.
One of the trustees, Wilson Evans, outlined the history of Delgany National School and its 20 year struggle to bring the new building to fruition on its current site. David Proger, another trustee, read a report on the opening of the new school from the Bray People of June 21 1991. The article quoted the then Rector, Archdeacon Cecil Price who highlighted the saga of the search for the site for the new school, the mothballing of the plans due to the recession of the ‘80s and then the start of work in 1990. The third trustee, Dickie O’Connor, spoke of the progressive school which has continued to grow and thrive resulting in further extensions in 2000 and 2017. The five teacher school has grown to become a school with 20 teachers and staff and 232 pupils. Many of the current families have a long association with the school and his mother, wife and children were pupils at Delgany and his grandchildren are current pupils, he said.
Mrs Ovington recalled the snowy day the pupils walked across the road from the old prefab school on February 11 1991 and paid tribute to Archdeacon Price and Mrs Watson for their contribution in bringing the new building about as well as the parents’ commitment to fundraising. To mark the anniversary, the school had created a Memory Lane of artifacts recalling the time and it includes a boot jack made by Clive Evans. She recalled that the pupils used to arrive in school in outdoor shoes but change to ‘indoors’ and the boot jack could be used to help take off wellies.
Messages from former teachers, Linda Syne and Sandra Stanley and lollipop lady, Rita Kingston, were read out and past pupils shared their memories. A prerecorded performance of the ‘Ballad of Delgany National School’ written and arranged by 5th class was played. Mr Howard and his team from 2nd class explained the meaning of the school crest and its connections to the area. Mrs Watson and her grandsons, who are pupils at the school, cut a cake to mark the occasion.
If you missed the service this morning you can watch it back here: https://delganyparish.ie/service/